Driving in a foreign country can be an exciting and somewhat daunting experience, especially when the rules of the road are different from what you’re used to. Norway, known for its stunning scenery and well-maintained roads, is a popular destination for travelers who want to explore by car. If you’re a foreigner planning to rent a car and hit the Norwegian roads, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the unique aspects of driving in this picturesque Scandinavian country.
A short guide on driving in Norway 🇳🇴
In Norway, traffic moves on the right-hand side of the road, which may be different from what you’re used to in some countries. Remember to stay in the right lane and overtake on the left.
Norway has strict speed limits that vary depending on the type of road and weather conditions. On urban roads the limit is usually 50 km/h, while on rural roads it’s 80 km/h. The speed limit on motorways is 90 km/h, and some motorways allow speeds of up to 100 km/h. Pay attention to speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly.
Obey traffic lights at all times. In Norway, the order of the lights is the same as in most countries: red (stop), amber (prepare to stop), and green (go).
Roundabouts are very common in Norway. Vehicles inside the roundabout have the right of way. Enter the roundabout when it’s safe to do so and yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
Right of way
Vehicles coming from the right generally have the right of way unless otherwise indicated. However, there are often yield signs at intersections and crossroads that indicate who has the right of way.
Seat belt use
Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers in the vehicle, including those in the back. Failure to wear a seat belt may result in a fine.
Children under four years of age must be restrained in a child safety seat appropriate to their size and weight. Children between four and 135 cm tall must use an approved child seat or booster cushion.
Use of headlights
Headlights must be used at all times, even during daylight hours. This requirement is primarily for safety reasons, given the variable lighting conditions in Norway.
The use of a hand-held telephone while driving is strictly prohibited. You may only use a phone with a hands-free system. It’s a good idea to avoid distractions and keep your eyes on the road.
Norway has a strict blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.02% for drivers. It’s safer to avoid alcohol altogether if you plan to drive.
Road conditions in Norway can change quickly depending on the weather. Be prepared for varying conditions, from clear roads to snow-covered surfaces.
Winter tires are mandatory from November 1 to April 15.
Tolls are charged on some roads and tunnels in Norway. Some rental cars are equipped with an electronic toll payment system, but it’s important to check with the rental company. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the toll manually using local payment methods.
Gasoline stations are widely available, even in remote areas. Unleaded gasoline (Bensin) and diesel (Diesel) are the most common types of fuel.
When driving in Norway, you must carry a valid driver’s license, passport or national identity card, proof of insurance, and rental car documents at all times.
In case of emergency, dial 112 for police, medical assistance, or the fire department. For roadside assistance, call the Norwegian Automobile Association (NAF) on 08 505.
Norway’s breathtaking scenery is best explored by car, giving you the freedom to discover its hidden gems at your own pace. By familiarizing yourself with these driving guidelines, you’ll be well prepared for an unforgettable trip on Norway’s breathtaking roads, while ensuring the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other road users.
FAQs about driving in Norway
Can I use my foreign driving license in Norway?
Yes, you can use your valid foreign driving license in Norway for up to three months. If your license is not in English or a Nordic language, you’ll also need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to accompany it.
Are there any special requirements for winter driving in Noway?
Yes, from November 1 to April 15, winter tires are required on all vehicles, including rental cars. Make sure your rental car is equipped with proper winter tires to ensure safety on icy or snowy roads.
Are there any wildlife concerns while driving in Norway?
Yes, Norway is known for its wildlife, including reindeer and moose. These animals may be active near roads, especially at dawn and dusk. Be cautious and reduce your speed when driving in areas where wildlife is likely to be present.
Can I use my headlights during the day in summer in Norway?
Although it’s not mandatory, it’s recommended to use your headlights during the day, especially in areas with varying light conditions. This practice increases your visibility to other drivers and is a common safety precaution.
How do I pay tolls if my rental car doesn’t have an electronic toll collection system in Norway?
If your rental car doesn’t have an electronic toll payment system, you can pay tolls manually using local payment methods. Some toll stations accept cash, credit cards or various mobile payment apps. Be sure to ask the rental company about toll payment options before you start your trip.
Are there special rules for driving in tunnels in Norway?
Norway has many tunnels, some of which can be quite long. Most tunnels have specific speed limits and you should keep a safe following distance. It’s also a legal requirement to turn on your headlights when entering a tunnel.
Can I turn right at a red light in Norway?
No, you can’t turn right on a red light in Norway unless there is a special sign indicating otherwise. You must wait for a green light before turning right.
Are there any areas in Norway where I need to be extra careful due to road conditions?
Coastal areas and mountain passes are known for rapidly changing weather conditions. Fog, rain and snow can affect visibility and road traction. Drive carefully and adjust your speed to the conditions.
Can I use snow chains instead of snow tires in Norway?
Snow chains are allowed, but they must be properly fitted to the drive wheels. However, winter tires generally provide better traction and are recommended for safe driving in winter conditions
How do I deal with parking in city centers in Norway?
Parking regulations vary from city to city, but most city centers have designated parking zones and payment requirements. Look for signs with parking regulations and pay for your parking at designated machines or mobile apps.